Four RBIs from junior Savannah Lockamy powered South Johnston to a season-opening 5-4 varsity softball win over visiting rival Triton on Wednesday evening.
“I don’t think you can ask for anything else,” said South Johnston coach Ashley Ennis. “We knew it was going to be a tough game and we were going to have to do a good job. We knew Carmen (Keene) would have to throw a good game and keep them off balance because they’ve got such great hitters. Offensively, I thought we would have to put the ball in play and I thought everybody put the ball in play and things happened. We hit the ball hard. We’ve got to work on the defense a little bit.
“There were some miscommunications on some plays we should have made. But it’s early in the season and you start out with a great team and kind of see where you’re at. Next week Triton will be better and they’ll be ready and we’ve got to get better and be ready. But right now, we’re going to practice tomorrow and focus on Harnett Central, because they’re pretty good, too.”
Triton coach Mark Whitman said inconsistent hitting through the lineup was a difference-maker.
“We just didn’t hit the ball tonight,” Whitman said. “I thought we pitched well enough to win. I thought Caroline (Marshall) did a great job. We’ve just got to work on executing and we’ve got to get the bottom of the lineup hitting the ball. Same thing that hurt us last year. We’re going to fix that. Hat’s off to them, they played well. They got the hits when they needed them. We had a couple of walks that hurt us tonight. We’ve got to work on that. We’ve got to get bunts down and we’ve got to execute. We’ve got a little work to do.”
Senior Carmen Keene pitched the complete game win for the Trojans (1-0), yielding three earned runs on six hits and one walk, with eight strikeouts.
Starter Caroline Marshall was the pitcher of record for the Hawks (0-1). In six and one-third innings, the junior gave up three earned runs on eight hits, three walks and one hit batter, with three strikeouts. Sophomore Gracyn Slaughter retired the lone batter she faced.
Lockamy had two hits, including a double, and four RBIs and freshman Kennedy Byrd had two hits and two runs scored to lead South at the plate.
“Savannah Lockamy had a big night at the plate hitting the ball for us in some clutch situations,” Ennis said. “Some of it’s just opportunity and we had some runners on in front of her and some things that happened in front of her. She stepped up to the plate and she got some clutch hits at some big moments.”
Katie Mitchell had two hits. Keene and Kyndall Woodard each had one hit and one run scored. Erica Stanley had one hit.
Sophomore Kaila Cooney had two hits, a double and a triple, and two RBIs to lead Triton offensively.
Brittany Ireland had a home run. Alexis Howard had a triple, one RBI and one run scored. Slaughter had a double and two runs scored. Ella Layn had one hit.
South took the lead early when Byrd singled, Adams drew a walk, Woodard drew a walk to load the bases and Lockamy singled to score Byrd and Adams.
Ireland led off the top of the second with a solo home run to left to put Triton on the board. In the third, Slaughter doubled and scored on a triple from Howard, who scored on a ground ball from Cooney to give the Hawks a 3-2 lead.
In the bottom of the third, Byrd drew a walk and Keene had a base hit. Byrd scored on an error on an Adams sacrifice, which also advanced Keene to third, putting her in position to score on a ground ball from Lockamy to reclaim the lead.
Triton tied the game in the top of the fifth when Slaughter reached on an error, stole second and scored on a triple from Cooney.
South scored the difference-making run in the bottom of the fifth. Woodard singled and stole second before scoring on a double from Lockamy.
With two out in the top of the seventh, Cooney doubled to put the potential tying run in scoring position, but a pop-up to Byrd, at second, ended the game.
Both teams will be on the road Friday, with Triton traveling to West Johnston and South Johnston visiting Harnett Central.